On Monday, we had a homeschool meeting, and I was very happy that we have 4 new ladies joining our group that are going to begin homeschooling next year. Talking with them made me remember how scary it was to first make the decision to homeschool, and then try to decide what to do next. What kind of curriculum did I need? How many hours a day should we spend on school? What if she wasn't learning what I was teaching? What if we didn't like our curriculum? And the list of questions goes on, and on, and on.
Something I have learned that I think is very important if you are just starting out, or thinking about homeschooling. There Are No Rules. That is right. There is no right or wrong way to homeschool. What works for you and your family is what you need to do. What works for one family won't necessarily work for another. A good friend of mine recommended a reading program for Nick that her son loved. I ran right out and bought it, and Nick and I both hated it. I sold it on ebay and went on to something else. Some children are early risers and want to start working in the morning, some are late sleepers and work better in the afternoon. That is okay. Some people like to buy what I call the "curriculum in a box"(Sonlight, Abecca etc..) This is a curriculum that you purchase everything from the same company, wait for it to arrive, open the box, and begin. Other people don't use a curriculum at all. I use a variety of different things. I spend approximately 2-3 hours a day on "school work." My day is split up into about 40 minutes at a time, take a break and then start again. This works better for me with a house full of little ones. Some people get their school work done all at once. I school through the summer months, many people I know take off 3 months for the summer. Some of my friends have a "school room" in their house, we "school" in every room of the house. A lady who just pulled her child out of public school said,"the freedom is a little scary." I believe that is true in the beginning, but the freedom is also wonderful.
Don't get overwhelmed! There are so many choices out there, it can be a bit confusing. Think about your child and what you think they will learn best doing. Talk to people and find out what they like and don't like, and why. Read reviews on curriculum. Send away for catalogs or attend a convention if you can. If you buy something and it isn't working out, stop using it (sell it) and try something else. These questions that seem so important really aren't. You have made an awesome choice to educate your child at home. Don't sweat the small stuff, take a break and get to know your child again (especially if you are pulling an older child out of school) and just enjoy your homeschooling adventure!